According to the Huffington Post, the average menstruator will spend $18,171 on their period in a lifetime—including pads and tampons, pain relievers, heating pads and all the other myriad costs of monthly bleeding.
Many women tired of the environmental impact, health risks and high cost of traditional menstrual products have chosen to go a different route. Introducing, menstrual cups!
A reusable cup worn inside the body during menstruation. It’s flexible and sits comfortably in the vagina to catch menstrual fluid. It can last up to ten years (and save you thousands of dollars).
One company stepped into this burgeoning market with a social mission: to help menstruators across the globe to have access to products they need. Reminds me of a certain condom company I write for…
Ruby Cup works on a “buy one, give one” model. For every cup they sell, they give one to a girl in East Africa.
What does it mean for a teenager to receive a Ruby Cup? Actually, a great deal. It could even be life-altering.
A recent UNESCO report stated that 1 in 10 girls will miss school on their period, which could be as much as 20 percent of a school year. That is because disposable menstrual products are extremely expensive and periods socially stigmatized.
Ruby Cup Founder, Julie Weigaard Kjær, said, “Millions do not have access to menstrual products and simply can’t afford to buy pads or tampons every month.
We also found that menstruation is subject to taboo in these communities and a girl often finds herself in the situation of starting her period having no idea what’s happening to her.
Imagine the fear and the shame associated with leaking and staining your clothes. Many girls try to hide it as best they can and end up staying home from school. In many cases this leads to dropping out of school entirely.
It’s a huge obstacle to gender equality, just because they have periods, girls miss out on education versus boys.”
Having a menstrual cup could keep a girl in school and help her to succeed, and in turn she can influence her community and lift others up. Access to menstrual products is a game-changer.
In addition to providing Ruby Cups, the company educates the girls who receive them about female anatomy, sexual and reproductive health, and menstrual health. The training and education is led by young women from the community in order to help the girls relate more easily to their instructor.
“The focus is on creating a safe space where all questions are welcome, where sound information about the female body is delivered without judgement. We work on taking down taboos regarding menstruation,” says Kjær.
Ruby cups come in two sizes: small and medium. The easiest way to choose is to literally, “go with the flow,” explained Kjær, “People with normal to heavier flow should use Ruby Cup Medium and those with normal to lighter flow Ruby Cup Small.”
One more thing I love about this company: their goal for 2017 is to have all packaging and marketing materials made with sustainable products. Talk about awesome.
Already, menstrual cups are much easier on the environment than pads and tampons. And at just $30 a cup, they pay for themselves in a few months. Hit me up if you have any questions or check out Ruby Cup for yourself right here.
Casey O’Brien is a junior at the University of Puget Sound where she is the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Puget Sound Trail. She loves nature, good food, dogs, and intersectional feminism.